Arad Captured

The Canaanite king of Arad, who was dwelling in the Negev,[a] heard that Israel came along the way of Atharim; he fought against Israel and took some of them captive. Israel made a vow to Yahweh, and they said, “If you will surely give this people into our[b] hand, then we[c] will destroy[d] their cities.” Yahweh heard the voice of Israel; he gave to them the Canaanites, and they destroyed them[e] and their cities. They called the name of the place Hormah.

They set out from Mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea[f] to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient[g] along the way. The people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us from Egypt to die in the desert? There is no food and no water, and our hearts detest this miserable food.”

The Bronze Serpent

And Yahweh sent among the people poisonous snakes; they bit the people, and many people from Israel died. The people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned because we have spoken against Yahweh and against you. Pray to Yahweh and let him remove the snakes[h] from among us.” So Moses prayed for the people. And Yahweh said to Moses, “Make for yourself a snake and place it on a pole. When[i] anyone is bitten and looks at it, that person will live.” So Moses made a snake of bronze, and he placed it on the pole; whenever[j] a snake bit someone, and that person looked at the snake of bronze, he lived.

10 The Israelites[k] set out and encamped at Oboth. 11 They set out from Oboth and encamped at Iye Abarim in the desert, which was in front of Moab toward the sunrise.[l] 12 From there they set out and encamped at the valley of Zered. 13 From there they set out and encamped beyond Arnon, which is in the desert that goes out from the boundary of the Amorites,[m] because Arnon is the boundary of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites.[n] 14 Therefore thus it is said in the scroll of the Wars of Yahweh,

“Waheb in Suphah,

and the wadis of Arnon,

15 and the slope of the wadis

that spreads out to the dwelling of Ar

and lies at the boundary of Moab.”

16 From there they went to Beer, which is the water well where Yahweh spoke to Moses, “Gather the people, that I may give them water.” 17 Then Israel sang this song, “Arise, well water! Sing to it! 18 Well water that the princes dug, that the leaders of the people dug, with a staff and with their rods.” And from the desert they continued to Mattanah, 19 and from Mattanah to Nahaliel, and from Nahaliel to Bamoth; 20 and from Bamoth to the valley that is in the territory of Moab, by the top of Pisgah, which overlooks the surface of the wasteland.

Sihon and Og Defeated

21 Israel sent messengers to Sihon, the king of the Amorites,[o] saying, 22 “Let us go through your land; we will not turn aside into a field or vineyard; we will not drink well water along the way of the king until we have gone through your territory.” 23 But Sihon did not allow Israel to go through his territory. Sihon gathered all his people and went out to meet Israel; he came to the desert, to Jahaz, and he fought against Israel. 24 But Israel struck him with the edge of the sword, and they took possession of his land from Arnon to Jabbok, until the Ammonites,[p] because the boundary of the Ammonites[q] was strong. 25 Israel took all these cities, and Israel inhabited all the cities of the Amorites,[r] in Heshbon, and in all its environs.[s] 26 Because Heshbon was the city of Sihon king of the Amorites,[t] who had fought against the former king of Moab and taken all his land from his hand until Arnon. 27 Thus the ones who quote proverbs say,

“Come to Heshbon! Let it be built!

And let the city of Sihon be established.

28 Because fire went out from Heshbon,

a flame from the city of Sihon;

it consumed Ar of Moab,

the lords of the[u] high places of Arnon.

29 Woe to you, Moab!

You have perished, people of Chemosh.

He has given his sons as fugitives,

and his daughters into captivity,

to the king of the Amorites,[v] Sihon.

30 We destroyed them;

Heshbon has perished up to Dibon;

we laid waste up to Nophah,

which reaches[w] Medeba.”

31 Thus Israel lived in the land of the Amorites.[x] 32 Moses sent to explore Jaazer; they captured its environs[y] and dispossessed the Amorites[z] who were there.

33 Then they turned and went up by the way of the Bashan, and Og king of the Bashan and all his people went out to meet them for battle at Edrei. 34 And Yahweh said to Moses, “Do not fear him because I will give him and all his people and all his land into your hand. You will do to him just as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites,[aa] who was living in Heshbon.” 35 And so they destroyed him and his sons, and all his people until they had not spared a survivor; and they took possession of his land.


  1. Numbers 21:1 An arid region south of the Judean hills
  2. Numbers 21:2 Hebrew “my”
  3. Numbers 21:2 Hebrew “I”
  4. Numbers 21:2 Literally “devote to God”
  5. Numbers 21:3 Literally “they devoted to God”
  6. Numbers 21:4 Literally “sea of reed”
  7. Numbers 21:4 Literally “the life of the people became short”
  8. Numbers 21:7 Hebrew “snake”
  9. Numbers 21:8 Hebrew “And it will happen”
  10. Numbers 21:9 Hebrew “And it will happen”
  11. Numbers 21:10 Literally “sons/children of Israel”
  12. Numbers 21:11 Literally “from the east of the sun”
  13. Numbers 21:13 Hebrew “Amorite”
  14. Numbers 21:13 Hebrew “Amorite”
  15. Numbers 21:21 Hebrew “Amorite”
  16. Numbers 21:24 Literally “sons of Ammon”
  17. Numbers 21:24 Literally “sons of Ammon”
  18. Numbers 21:25 Hebrew “Amorite”
  19. Numbers 21:25 Hebrew “her daughters;” other modern versions translate “its villages”
  20. Numbers 21:26 Hebrew “Amorite”
  21. Numbers 21:28 Or “the dominant”
  22. Numbers 21:29 Hebrew “Amorite”
  23. Numbers 21:30 Literally “is up to”
  24. Numbers 21:31 Hebrew “Amorite”
  25. Numbers 21:32 Hebrew “her daughters;” other modern versions translate “its villages”
  26. Numbers 21:32 Hebrew “Amorite”
  27. Numbers 21:34 Hebrew “Amorite”